Muslim and Arab leaders on this campus and around the country have repeatedly condemned all forms of terrorism, and for those who request an encore (“Muslim leaders must show leadership,” 11/2/01, Justin Brook), here it is:
Islam unconditionally condemns the killing of innocent civilians, women and children regardless of the perpetrators “religion, ethnicity, race, or political agenda.” This definition is not unique to only religion or ethnicity it is based on most definitions of a moral and just society.
If you wonder if Muslim and Arab communities condemn an act, just figure out if it falls under this definition. Muslim and Arab leaders in the post-September 11 world are at a loss to find methods for their humanity not to be endlessly questioned. Brook”s premises on which his article is based are false neither Christian groups nor Jewish groups would be expected to condemn every opinion that is voiced by one who identifies with their communities. Brook himself brings up a very interesting example, that of the “terrorist murderer Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 29 Muslims in Hebron in 1994.” Every year in Israel, a highly attended public candlelight vigil takes place to remember this terrorist as a “martyr.” The Jewish communities in this country and around the world, many of whom condemned this act of murder in 1994, do not repeatedly denounce the yearly vigil held by members of their communities, nor should we expect them to.
Discriminatory attacks, such as the one undertaken by Brook, the implied guilt by association, on the Muslim and Arab communities as a whole, and Muslim and Arab leaders in particular, are what really need to be condemned by all leaders nationwide. As Arab and Muslim Americans, we are saddened and frustrated that we feel our fellow Americans continually asking us to defend our foundations of morality.
No individual”s remarks on a personal level, regardless of his or her association with a group, can be attributed to that group as a whole. That viewpoint to which Brook refers to made no claim to speak on behalf of Muslims and Arabs or their leadership. It is for these reasons we will not yield to Brook”s insulting requests that demand, in a discriminatory fashion, our communities to declare our humanity again to the world simply because he did not believe it the last time we did.
Since Sept. 11, Muslim and Arab groups have organized many functions, teach-ins, and lectures on campus, such as this week”s Islam Awareness Week, in which Islam”s unconditional condemnation as listed above, is repeatedly expressed.
Finally, our blanket denunciation encompasses all forms of terrorism, whether Hamas, the IRA, Al-Qaeda, the Israeli government, Aum Shinrikyo in Japan, the Mossad, or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia perpetrates it.
Saba is president of the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee and Tarsin is president of Muslim Students Association.